New services to be rolled out in West Norfolk to support the homeless

£1.5m is being issued to district councils to tackle homelessness in Norfolk. Picture: Ian Burt

£1.5m is being issued to district councils to tackle homelessness in Norfolk. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Archant

Three new support services will be rolled out in West Norfolk in a bid to tackle the worsening rates of homelessness.

West Norfolk council is working on a number of initiatives that cover accommodation and shelter provision and support services as part of its new homelessness and rough sleeping strategy.

This comes after a snapshot count of rough sleepers in November 2017 showed nine people sleeping on the streets, with 63 people found on the same night to be without a home.

Councillor Adrian Lawrence, cabinet member for housing, said: 'These figures are a concern to us. Rough sleeping is dangerous, particularly at this time of year when it is bitterly cold. Tackling the issue remains a high priority for us.'

New legislation places new legal duties on councils and public bodies to intervene at an earlier stage to prevent people becoming homeless.

Mr Lawrence added: 'We are developing a new homelessness and rough sleeping strategy in line with this latest legislation, but more importantly we are also co-commissioning three new services to help prevent homelessness and to get people off the streets and back into accommodation.'

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The Home Group Community Support scheme, jointly commissioned with Norfolk County Council, allows professionals to work with single people, couples and families to produce a comprehensive personal housing and support plan based on an accurate reflection of the individual's situation.

They will be supported to attend appointments and carry out any tasks identified. These include attending benefits assessments, debt management agencies, mental health community support teams and drug and alcohol support services and probation appointments.

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The Genesis Housing scheme, also partly commissioned by county council, will be aimed at helping rough sleepers, to reduce instances of people spending one or more nights on the streets.

Genesis housing association will use their expertise in delivering housing-related support, using person-centred methods, to create a flexible service that recognises and responds to the level of trauma an individual may have experienced.

The Benjamin Foundation Outreach will help young people aged 16-24 access vital specialist support services that will address their needs and enable them to secure and retain accommodation.

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